I have so many thoughts pondering through my head on how to begin this story. The great thing, yet not the only thing I love about writing these blogs, is the opportunity to share a story and share a lesson both at the same time.
So, let me begin with saying this; Every story, every journey, every memory is a lesson.
The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t, is whether or not you open yourself to receive the lesson. I can tell you from my own personal experience, when you truly open yourself up…..every lesson is an epiphany.
About 3-months back, my Husband and I made the decision we would go to our Daughter’s to be with her and her fiancee for Thanksgiving.
I took this opportunity in asking my parents (Dad 93 Mom 90) if they wanted me to take them to Massachusetts the weekend before Thanksgiving so Dad can see his remaining Family and Mom could enjoy seeing old friends, nieces, nephews. From there, we would head to CT, pick up my husband and enjoy the Holiday with my daughter, all together.
I knew going in, this would be a huge task. And, for anyone with elderly parents, you know the older they get, the grumpier they get. They also become more stubborn. In addition, Dad is using a walker, he has some medical remnants from his bout with cancer, he can’t hear (even with hearing aids) and his eyesight is slowly but surely failing. Mom can’t hear and suffers from osteoporosis badly.
A kink which swiped the carpet right from under us happened about 2 weeks after booking our flights. My A. Jenny, Dad’s oldest sister (95) got suddenly sick and passed away. When we heard of the news, we tried to get Dad up there as soon as we heard. She passed away literally about 7 hours before he got there. However, my eldest sister stuck with plan and took them North.
They saw everyone, did everything they wanted to do on the week we had planned already. I really thought they would cancel the trip.
It worked out as such, my cousin postponed the memorial services until my parents came back up in November. The trip is still on.
I’m not going to go into detail about all the things that happened which you could cry or laugh at. I will tell you, it was a challenge yet I realized if I just took it all one step at a time and really thought things through…we would be fine and that’s exactly what happened.
- Made sure they were winter ready
- pre-emptied pockets, phones, jewelry prior to going through security
- Ordered wheelchair assistance
- Collected drivers license (so no fumbling)
- Allowed an additional 1hr – 1-1/2hr to each venture
- Made sure Mom didn’t have any extra purses or pouches on this journey
- Made sure the car I rented was big enough
- The list continues;
I managed all of this with one goal in mind…..get my Dad to the Statue of Liberty. He wanted to go and I was going to make it happen!
I had a couple of naysayers…My husband said it is projected to rain, my daughter said it was going to be cold, they both were concerned about the “getting” there (2 hours away). However, I just tuned it all out. “It is what it is” I said, it’s going to happen, I’m not concerned.
AND…..IT DID! Friday after Thanksgiving, by the suggestion of a client/friend, we drove to the New Jersey side in order to catch the ferry.
The weather was a little drizzly on the drive over. By 11:00 am it was gone. The clouds were covering the skies and then suddenly, just as we were wheeling Dad down the sidewalk (we got a wheelchair), the sun came out and shined upon Lady Liberty showing all her glory.
It could not have been more perfect.
This entire trip has been a series of lesson for me. Yet, it was the sermon at my Aunts Memorial which gave me my epiphany!
You see, my Aunt got sick with Meningitis when she was 1 year old. She lost her hearing. She buried 2 husbands. In her later years, like my Dad, she began to lose her eyesight. She and her son agreed she would move into a home for the deaf and blind.
I only knew my Aunt as the giddy one. She was always smiling, not afraid to be silly and never, ever once did she complain about her handicaps. I just recently found out, she was also into needlework and was always making something for someone….even after she started losing her eyesight. WOW!
What struck me about all this is what the Priest said at the sermon.
He talked about her handicaps and talked about her spirit. He talked about her personality and he talked about her talent. In the end, he talked about her faith!
I was born Catholic yet as an adult, I do not practice my religion. I believe it is more important to be spiritual than it is to visit 4 walls every week. Be good to thyself, be good to others. To me, it’s that simple.
What I had forgotten though, is the gift we have all been given. The gift of FAITH, HOPE & LOVE.
As soon as he said that is what my Aunt had, it hit me. I live by those 3 words (or at least try to), I had just forgotten where I learned them and I had forgotten what they mean.
I clearly mastered the “love” part after what I did for my parents this last week.
Hope is always on the forefront, yet I’m a realist and I usually do “hope for the best” however, do I “hope it won’t rain? No, I pray it won’t rain”
This is where I believe my strongest gift is, Faith. To me you are trusting in the process.
As I said in my opening, “you have to open yourself up to the lesson”
As I was pushing my Dad, walking with my Mom, my daughter and my husband looking at our beautiful Lady Liberty, I became teary eyed.
I understood at that moment we have to enjoy the moment. Forget everything else and just focus on the moment. Lady Liberty had a purpose. The creator, the artist, the war…the people surrounding me at that moment. A moment we will never get again!
My epiphany took me to the place I have gone several times in the past few weeks. Trust the process, keep working hard, do my best and always remember we have FAITH, HOPE & LOVE.
The lessons are plentiful here;
- Be organized, regardless of what you set out to do and you will have success
- Be grateful for what you have or who you are with today
- Don’t stop processing yet stop worrying about tomorrow. This moment, this time will never again return
- Be patient, we are all going through the same process, just not all at the same time
- Keep your faith
- Never stop Hoping
- Love like it’s your last time
As I journey through this next phase in my life….it’s my own exact words I commit to follow. How about you, are you ready?